The relationship of clinical QT prolongation to outcome in the conscious dog using a beat-to-beat QT-RR interval assessment

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2002 Aug;302(2):828-33. doi: 10.1124/jpet.102.035220.


QT interval prolongation of the electrocardiogram has been associated with the occurrence of life-threatening fatal ventricular arrhythmias. To understand the relationship between preclinical cardiac conduction assessment to clinical outcome, comparisons of free (unbound)-plasma drug concentrations and their associated effects in the conscious mongrel dog were made to the free plasma concentrations in humans reported to produce QT prolongation. E-4031 (an experimental class III antiarrhythmic), cisapride, terfenadine, terodiline, and verapamil all affect cardiac repolarization and can produce QT prolongation in humans. In the conscious dog, the QT interval was assessed on a beat-to-beat basis in relation to each preceding RR interval at concentrations approximating the same unbound human concentrations. E-4031, cisapride and terodiline statistically increased the QT(RR1000) interval [the QT interval at a 60 beats/min (bpm) heart rate] 23, 8, and 9 ms, respectively, at concentrations 0.3 to 15.8 times their relevant clinical level. Increases were not observed for terfenadine or verapamil (p > 0.05 at all doses). Inspection of individual dog QT versus RR interval relationships showed clear QT interval responses specific to each treatment but not readily apparent when data are averaged at a heart rate of 60 bpm. For specific rectifier K(+) current (IKr) blockers, robust effects on mean QT prolongation can be detected. However, for drugs that affect repolarization through multiple channels, the effect on the mean QT interval may be more difficult to detect. Inspection of the beat-to-beat QT-RR interval relationship in an individual animal can increase the sensitivity for more accurate clinical prediction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / toxicity*
  • Butylamines / toxicity
  • Cisapride / toxicity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Long QT Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Piperidines / toxicity
  • Pyridines / toxicity
  • Terfenadine / toxicity
  • Verapamil / toxicity


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Butylamines
  • Piperidines
  • Pyridines
  • E 4031
  • terodiline
  • Terfenadine
  • Verapamil
  • Cisapride